JSM & SMC September 2019: Affirmation

With one more month to go to the SA2 exams and it being the start of the PSLE, the Saints Mums felt that it would be an excellent time to explore the topic of “Affirmation” with Ms Mina Lim on the morning of 26 September 2019.

Ms Mina Lim works at the St Andrew’s Community Hospital Senior (Day) Care Centres, taking care of dementia patients. She has 2 young-adult children, 19 and 21 years old. She shared from her perspective as a mother of her 19-year-old son, Barnabas. Her son’s name means “son of encouragement”. Barnabas was diagnosed with dyslexia at Primary 5, and has slow processing skill. With lots of affirmation from a loving environment, he managed to pursue his studies in SAJC.

For Mina, affirmation means to state your support for an idea or opinion, or to offer someone emotional support or encouragement.

There is scientific evidence that our brain has the ability to re-configure itself. It is called neuroplasticity. Our brain can be rewired. If your brain is hardwired negative, it will be negative. Thus positive daily affirmation is important to transform the brain’s ability to reorganise itself by forming new positive connections. Chemicals in the brain can be formed and strengthened into new neural pathway.

Ask ourselves whether we are emotionally connected to our child. Every child longs to feel accepted and be secure in their parents’ love. Anything that suggests the possibility of losing this approval is a threat to his sense of self. Affirm them as our child, as a child of God, and as someone who has so much potential to be a mature and respectable man or woman.

It takes a lot of effort to affirm another person. We have to be conscious about our action and be willing to be aware of our mistakes and learn from them. We need to understand the needs of our child and value him, to affirm him and not just his work. It is an effort of trial and error to discover how best to affirm your child, and the best time to start is today.

At the end of the session held at the Church of Ascension Hall, 33 mums from SAJS and SASS came out empowered to affirm their children daily.

JSM&SMC July 2019: Therapeutic Conversations

It was refreshing start to Term 3, as Charis Patrick, Family and Martial Therapist, Trainer and Family Life Educator, addressed a crowd of 51 mothers on 25 July 2019 at the SAJS Thinkubator.

Mingling at breakfast

As morning refreshments were served, mothers mingled and interacted during the session to discover:
– the different communication styles
– how to talk so your child will listen
– how to listen so your child will talk.
 
Research shows that when we communicate, only 7% of the content is received, while body language and tone takes up most of the message.
Charis spoke with passion on actions speaking louder than words. She suggested that as parents, we take a step back and do not nag our children. The less “rescuing” or reminding our children, the more they will take ownership of their situation and increase their personal motivation for action.

Our natural parental fear will lead us to want to “rescue” our children, but allowing our children to exercise personal choice helps to motivate them. For example, if the child chooses not to do his homework, he will have to face the consequences at school and not blame the parent for not doing the homework.

Supporting our children doesn’t mean rescuing them. Support creates a trust that our children have the ability to complete their tasks, which motivates them further when the tasks are completed because of their ability.

As parents, when we lose hope, we tend to try to rescue our children. However, rescuing has many implications:

  • Rescue leads to disempowerment in the child.
  • Rescue will never be appreciated by the child.
  • Rescue will lead to a sense of “self-sacrifice” by parents (in the hope of making everyone happy), which leads to feelings of resentment. When we are resentful, we’ll be angry and will likely punish (perpetrate) our children.

“Self-sacrificing” is a common phenomenon among stay-at-home mothers. As stay-at-home-mothers, their “KPIs” include their children’s performance in school. However, when mothers “self-sacrifice”, they send a message to their family that they can sacrifice and their time and wishes are not important. When their families start to taking self-sacrifical mothers for granted, these mothers would feel resentful.

When we reduce our tendancy to “self sacrifice” and build up our sense of self instead, we create healthier boundaries for ourselves, that our children can relate to. This will also lead to healthier relationships with our children and our spouses.

Interactive participants

As parents, we have to learn to be aware of our emotions and regulate our emotions. This will help us better understand ourselves, and in turn better understand our children.

We can listen to our children’s passions, even though we may not agree with them. We can also be passionate with what our children are passionate about. We do not have to burst their bubble. We can give them space to explore their options.

3 important ingredients for communication.

Every communication is an incidental teaching. Round up the conversation with a hug. Let our children know that we are their safe space, so that when they have difficulties or problems, they know they can come back to us, their safe space.

Steps to have a therapeutic conversation.

Deborah thanking our speaker.